A66 Preferred Route Announcement

June 11, 2020

By Peter Dixon

Whilst not quite as iconic as America’s Route 66, the A66 Trunk Road is nonetheless an important strategic route linking the A1(M) at Scotch Corner with the M6 at Penrith (passing Barnard Castle along the way). The Government has recently announced the preferred route of improvements which will see the road upgraded to dual carriageway standard. The announcement follows consultation last year on route options.

Over the years the road has been upgraded and improved in sections so that it now consists of a combination of single carriageway and dual carriageway sections.  Increasing traffic volumes and that fact that the road carries a high proportion of heavy goods vehicles have led to calls to complete the dualling of the whole route, providing local bypasses for a number of settlements and relieving a number of congestion ‘black spots’ in doing so.

The scheme is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and the necessary consents (including for land acquisition) are to be obtained under the Development Consent Order (‘DCO’) procedure in the Planning Act 2008. The published programme anticipates further consultation on the detailed design of the scheme in 2021 followed by the DCO application with an estimated start of construction in 2024/25.